If you ever worry that your film idea isn’t very good, that you have ideas that don’t pass muster, and that you think you couldn’t get a streaming service to invest millions of dollars in what comes out of your head, then Netflix has thoughtfully provided something of a morale booster.
Game Over, Man! is the latest straight-to-streaming production from the service, that comes from the pen of Anders Holm, who also co-stars in the movie. Alongside him are Adam Devine, Blake Anderson, and Marc Brandt, with the central story following three hotel cleaners, who are also trying to get a videogame of their own made.
In said hotel, then, is a big party, and fairly soon, this is taken over by terrorists, setting the scene for a movie that liberally borrows dollops of Die Hard, but has you soon pining for even the level of Paul Blart: Mall Cop.
It’s really hard to know where to start.
Remember in the aftermath of the success of the first American Pie movie, back in 1999? When studios suddenly started a land rush for R-rated, crude, cheap comedies, that pushed the boundaries of taste in exchange for box office dollars? Game Over, Man! is very much along those lines, and yet somehow manages to aim even lower. It’s certainly mining similar sort of jokes, with one of the many embarrassing comedy strands following a pair of gay characters. At first it looks like it may subvert expectations, but then just as it looks as though it might be doing something interesting, out come the dick jokes. They do not stop.
The further problem is that it’s really achingly unfunny. The jokes here don’t feel like they’ve been road tested anywhere near a human being, and as such, even though they come thick and fast, it’s just like emptying another bucket of faeces on the floor. So little works, and there’s not a performer amongst the ensemble who can lift it. What makes that such a sad sentence to write is that Daniel Stern is in there, buried in a role where even a talent of his magnitude doesn’t have the wiggle room to do anything. There are cameos from famous people playing themselves too, if you enjoy cameos from famous people playing themselves.
It’d be remiss to say there aren’t moments here, little glimmers of ambition where you just wonder if a better editorial process had been put in place, could something have been salvaged? And then another pitiful one liner, clunking reference or strained, cheap gag flies at you. All you can do is duck.
Thus: if you’ve ever doubted your own talent, do consider giving Game Over, Man! a try. Because there’s a company out there willing to sign off on millions of dollars to make a film like this, where the bar is set so low that it gives everyone else on planet Earth a chance to do better. I do genuinely believe that nobody sets out to make a bad movie, but conversely, I don’t believe anyone here was trying to make a great one either. Instead, they’ve filled a box on the Netflix home screen, a recommendation for those who’ve made their way through Adam Sandler’s recent films, and precious little more than that.